Swordfish, monkfish sales soar as Tesco shoppers demand ‘unusual’ species

Published on
August 15, 2016

A change in fish shopping habits has led to a sharp rise in sales of megrim, swordfish, monkfish and other lesser utilized species, said Tesco.

The increase is a result of a scheme devised by the U.K. retailer, which has seen staff on the 650 fish counters across the country trained to help shoppers discover alternative varieties of fish, as well as offer helpful advice on recipes and serving tips.

In the last year, the supermarket has seen a significant increase in demand for more unusual dinner table fish, with sales of grey mullet up by nearly 600 percent, megrim sales 400 percent higher, and sales of monkfish tail and swordfish steaks both up by 50 percent.

Tesco also confirmed sales of mackerel had increased by nearly 200 percent, ray wing sales were up by more than 40 percent and whole crab sales had risen by almost 25 percent over the same period.

In recent months, Tesco has introduced Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fish to all fish counters and across 28 different types of chilled pre-packed fish.

“We now offer more fish choices than ever before, which has helped our customers explore and discover some of the more unusual but fantastic tasting varieties that are now readily available, like monkfish tail, swordfish and megrim,” said Andrew Haigh, fish buyer at Tesco.

“All of our fish counters colleagues are specially trained so they can help customers, angling for something different, with their fish choices and offer cooking, recipe and serving tips. 

“We are seeing that shoppers’ tastes are changing, which is taking the pressure off the demand for the U.K.’s traditional favorites like cod and haddock,” said Haigh.

Tesco said interest in trying lesser-known fish species has also been driven by the popularity of TV cooking programs as well as through the work of food campaigners like Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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